In honor of Milwaukee’s rich jazz heritage, the Pabst Theater will host "An Evening of Milwaukee Jazz," featuring 13 of this city’s world-class jazz artists on January 31, at 8 p.m. This spectacular showcase of Milwaukee legends will include Joe Aaron on clarinet, Berkeley Fudge on tenor, soprano sax and flute, Cecilio Negron, Jr. on congas, Rick Aaron on flute, Lem Banks, blues vocalist Adekola Adedapo, jazz vocalist, Sam Kidd on bass, Dean Lea on keyboard, Scott Van Domelan on tenor sax, Michael Caldwell on tenor and alto sax, Steve Lewandowski on guitar, Jeff Pietrangelo on trumpet and Paul Spencer on drums. An Evening of Milwaukee Jazz tickets can be purchased by calling the Pabst Theater Box Office at (414) 286 3663, or by stopping in to Caroline’s at 401 N. 2nd St. in Historic Walker’s Point. Tickets prices are $25, $15 and $10 and will be sold on a first come, first serve basis.
This powerful combination of players, as different in their approach to the music as they are diverse in age and experience, lay down one totally happening groove after another ranging from blues to ballad to Latin to hard-bop.
Joe Aaron at 82 years has been playing for 65 years has been an icon in the Milwaukee musical world. He has appeared as a soloist with the MSO, played 25 years with the Melody Tap Theater Orchestra, was lead tenor sax with the Clyde McCoy Orchestra and appeared at the Sacramento Jazz Festival.
Berkeley Fudge, currently an instructor at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music is a veteran performer who has appeared with Sonny Stitt, Lena Horne, Gene Ammons, Thelma Houston & Esther Phillips to name a few. A dedicated educator, he has served as Artist in Residence at Marquette and UWM, and has been director for the Central City Jazz Ensemble for the Milwaukee Jazz Experience.
Cecilio Negron, Jr. spends time each year performing with "One Drum", an all percussion group and in Latin festivals nationwide. His incredible energy is inherited from his Puerto Rican roots and talent from his father Cecil.
Rick Aaron, son of Joe Aaron proves that "the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree". As a much sought after classical musician, Rick’s jazz capability cannot be overlooked. With a style comparable to Herbie Mann, he brings enchantment to the stage. His recently released "For the First Time" is his first recording with his father.
Lem Banks, in the early days of R & B played in the popular group, Vic Pitts and the Cheaters. His involvement with many of Milwaukee’s best local bands has been documented in the book, "Can You Hear the Beat" by Gary Myers. His style and delivery can put tears in the eyes of an audience or bring the entire house to its feet.
Adekola Adedapo began her jazz career in 1978 as MC and sometimes singer with the Buddy Montgomery Quartet. Since then she has worked with Melvin Rhyne, Frank Morgan, Von Freeman and recorded a CD with Fudge entitled "Ose Meji." Her vocals are influenced by the styles of Ella Fitzgerald and Carmen McRae.
Sam Kidd has a resume that includes Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Red Sanders and big bands Nat & Cannonball Adderley, Dinah Washington, Della Reese, Nancy Wilson & Isaac Hayes to name a few. He has recorded with Sonny Stitt and Zoot Sims.
Dean Lea, a 25 year veteran of the local jazz scene has performed with a majority of Milwaukee’s jazz instrumentalists and is a favorite of all Milwaukee’s jazz vocalists. He recorded with Adekola on her "Ose Meji" and with Paul Spencer on "Jazz with Soul," "Kickin’ it at Caroline’s," "Latin Cooking," and "For the First Time" released in 2003.
Scott Van Domelan, tenor for more than 20 years has spent time on the road with The Geln Miller Band, Benny Carter, and Billy Hart. Influenced by Sonny Rollins and Dexter Gordan, Scott also recorded with Spencer on his "Kickin It" CD.
Michael Caldwell has a strong straight ahead style reminiscent of Sonny Stitt and is now developing his talent as a composer as well as working as a sideman for greats such as Manty Ellis.
Steve Lewandowski with more that 30 years of professional experience as guitarist, arranger, composer and conductor in a variety of pop and jazz bands has worked with groups the fifth Dimension, Yehuda Yannay’s 20th Century Ensemble and OPUS. Steve currently directs the Milwaukee High School of the Arts Jazz Guitar Ensemble and has been described as "Clear countermelodies up and down scales distinguished by rapid fire guitar" Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Jeff Pietrangelo has toured nationally with the group Matrix and performed at Newport and Monterey Jazz Festivals. He has played with Henry Mancini, Ben Vereen, Bobby Vinton, Doc Severenson, Clark Terry, Perry Como and Frank Sinatra to name a few.
Paul Spencer during a musical career spanning 40 years, has developed a style of playing that provides both rhythmically and melodically sophisticated accompaniment to his band. His music has been described as "lifting his audience out of their seats into the cosmos" (Milwaukee Jazz Experience, 2000). Pauls group has opened for Little Richard, The Dave Clark Five, Jerry Lee Lewis, Louis Jourdan, and Buddy Rich to name a few. In addition to touring internationally, Spencers "Jazz and Soul" release was selected by WYMS as one of the top six of 2000.